The Columbian Exchange made a significant impact on the world economically, socially, and in terms of movement of peoples or immigration. The transfer of goods increased the interactions between countries, making the world seem a little smaller and in turn supporting globalization. One area greatly impacted by the Columbian Exchange was Asia, specifically East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. It resulted in great economic and political consequences. Through the exchange of goods and services, especially silver, and New World crops, Asia was able to transform and advance itself while also creating new conflicts that would later have a direct correlation to its fall. Prior to silver being brought into Asia, more specifically the Chinese province of Yuegang in Fujian, a lot of corruption occurred. There was no stable economy or currency and the political role was less than extraordinary. There were wokous, or pirates that went against the trade bans and whom officials couldn’t stop. They were violent and impacted a lot of areas, one of them being the province of Fujian. This area was highly susceptible to famine because they couldn’t harvest enough to feed themselves. This changed when the Ming decided to “let in the flood” (161). As Mann says “the decision was led by two factors, one largely political, one largely economic.” (161) The Chinese dynasty hoped to increase state power and decrease the money issues they had been having. The importation of silver helped do that. Prior to lifting the trade ban, the empire did not have an efficient system of currency set up and merchants were buying and selling good with little lumps of silver, which was a commodity. Before long, ships of silk and silver were being trade across the Pacific.
As a result of lifting the ban, the Chinese sent thousands of family and extended family to establish areas of trade, one of the biggest settlements being Manila in the Philippines. This resulted in both prosperity and conflict. Manila was a huge trading area for the Chinese where they established a little village of sorts and traded silk, porcelain, cotton, jam and many other commodities. The increased silk production stimulated the economy tremendously. The Yuegang merchants would make 30-40% and the Spaniards would sell it at three to four times the price to others. Tensions ensued however and approximately twelve thousand merchants were evicted from Manila. As Mann puts it,
On the one hand, silver from the silk trade became a source of imperial wealth and power…it fueled an explosion of commerce within China, which led to an economic boom…On the other hand, the money that enabled businesses to grow also set off inflation. (207)
As can be seen, the silver trade had both upsides and downsides but did result in the increased dependence upon other countries for goods. Apart from silver, rubber and New world crops also impacted areas of Asia, allowing many to prosper and avoid starvation. New World crops, mainly potatoes and maize are a big factor in the population boom that occurred in China. They first came of importance when coastal people moved to the mountains of Fujian, Guangdong and Zhejiang, areas that were inhabited by Hakka. This area did not have fertile soil and…